Mike Basher

Yesterday, my travels took me to my favorite place in the world to go snowboarding, Bear Mountain. Over the past twenty years, it has always held a dear spot in my heart, as it is a true freestyler’s paradise, with literally hundreds of features and transitions to play around on. While I don’t gravitate to the big jumpline these days, the tubes, tanks, and endless transitions cut into the sides of so many features are always a blast. I linked up with Lenny Mazzotti, who has been shredding Bear Mountain since he could walk. Now in his late twenties, Lenny dissects Bear’s extensive all-mountain terrain park with a precision and style that matches his relaxed, methodical demeanor. He’s well-known for his casual style and gregarious personality, so not only is he a disciple of Bear Mountain Parks, but he’s a diplomat of the mountain too, the first to jump in and take some laps with visiting riders who flock to the mecca that is Bear. – Mike Basher

Lenny! What’s been good, man? What have you been getting into this winter?
I’ve been traveling a lot this season, actually. Been on the rail contest circuit, did the Red Bull Heavy Metal in Detroit, then Grit Rail Jam in Salt Lake City, then to Colorado for Dew Tour. I’ve had a ton of fun riding in them. Dew Tour, especially, was a blast. I really liked the set up.

p: Basher

How has growing up riding at Bear prepared you for the custom set ups at these rail contests?
Bear is always set up to flow a bunch of rails together and I’ve been riding Bear’s set ups my whole life, so with events like the Dew Tour, where it’s a whole rail line, I feel like it was easier for me to navigate.

The Big Bear Lake area is better known for its sunny, slushy conditions. How was that big dump you guys got late February?
Actually, I was at Dew Tour when we got the bulk of the snow, but I was able to get back to town and it was like locals’ weekend the day I got back. Nobody was able to get up here. We got so much snow in that storm. Usually, when we get snow, it’s like a foot, and you’re having to navigate through bushes, but with this storm, everything was so filled in that it was wide open between the spaced-out trees. We were getting fresh turns for days. It was so awesome.

What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Bear is hosting Game of Snow the end of April, which I’m really looking forward to because it’s going to bring a bunch of really great riders to town. I love getting to see our mountain ridden by some of the top riders out there. Growing up here, I’ve always been around some of the best park riders in the world–like Jeremy Jones, JP Walker, Seth Huot–when they’d come here to shoot for their video parts. Plus, we had a bunch of awesome local guys here, like Lance Hakker, Chris Bradshaw, Nima Jalali, and Johnny Miller, who were always here. You could just watch them, and be like, “Holy Hell!” So, whenever we get a bunch of great riders coming to Bear, I get all excited and nostalgic at the same time.

With Sunday in the Park going strong, how has the buzz been with getting more riders flocking to Bear?
I’ve met a bunch of riders from all over the world who are coming from Europe, Canada, and Japan, who usually stay for a few weeks to ride our park. A lot of them see what Bear has going on by watching Sunday in the Park and have to come check it out. I love getting to meet everyone when they come here, and develop those relationships. This even goes back to when I was eight, when I met Joe Sexton–who was actually in town to visit you. He was like sixteen, and even all those years later, he’s another visitor who has kept returning and I have been able to build a relationship with him. We’ve got a real tight-knit scene here, and we always welcome anyone who wants to check it out. Everyone knows that I’ve got a place for them to crash when they’re in town.

Ok, well I gotta go catch my flight home, but if that offer stands, I’m gonna book another flight out, because as always, today was awesome!
Ha, looking forward to it!